TREASURE HUNTING – A MAJOR THREAT TO ARCHAEOLOGY
It is good news that the Council for British Archaeology has finally come out with a statement -unanimously passed by the Council sitting in general meeting on January 12 – condemning the growing practice of treasure hunting and the use of metal detectors. The statement says:
In the view of the Council for British Archaeology, treasure hunting constitutes a major threat to the country’s archaeological heritage, and is thus contrary to the national interest.
The concept of treasure hunting is totally at variance with the – objectives and practices of archaeology in studying and safe-guarding our tangible past for the public good of present and future generations.
The Council recognises that many users of metal detectors are motivated by a genuine interest in the past and its remains and that they would not knowingly damage those remains. Such people are we1come to join the active membership of British archaeology but they must accept the methods and disciplines of archaeology.
CBA will publicise this view as widely as it can. No doubt its next step will be to meet other interested bodies – for instance the Museums Association and Rescue – to discuss further concerted action.
This kind of authoritative lead has long been highly desirable and greatly desired both by individual archaeologists and by county and local societies. For years archaeologists have known that treasure hunting was wrong because it destroyed valuable evidence, but they have been uncertain about the best way to combat it. Some people believed that treasure hunting should not be condoned in any way; others felt that, as it appeared to have come to stay and there appeared no legal redress for it, we must try to guide its practitioners into the right paths. With no lead at the top it was difficult to know whether to follow the advice of hawks or doves. CBA has now come down from the fence and openly declared itself a hawk. We believe that archaeologists should close ranks behind the Council and present a united front, by refusing to condone treasure hunting – and by taking all other possible measures, both at national and local level, to curtail or prevent it.
SUMMING UP WEST HEATH 1978
By Daphne Lorimer.
Weather, to a large extent controlled the progress of excavations at West Heath in 1978. A poor spring and early summer delayed the completion of trenches which had been left unfinished from 1977. It was gratifying, however, to find that protective backfilling had proved highly effective and the trenches had survived last winter undamaged. Seven new trenches, specifically opened for the training dig, will be completed in 1979. Meantime they have been protected as last year’s were.
From August onwards fine conditions enabled digging to continue until the beginning of December, the area opened being the richest part of the site to date. The recording of the number of struck flakes, and tools is not yet complete, but will be in the order of 10,000-11,000 – more than double the number retrieved in the first year of excavation.
There was a definite increase in the number of geometric microliths, and the first axe-sharpening flake and subsequently the first core axe were recovered from the site. In addition, burnt stones and charcoal were retrieved and post holes excavated and cast. A number of postholes contained significant quantities of charcoal.
The conservation of the hearth during the winter proved very satisfactory and there was little shrinkage. Some shifting, however, did take place when the hearth was turned onto its base; prior battening of this surface would have been advisable. Samples were taken for the magnetic survey and for TL dating and Cl4 dating. The results have not yet been received for either method.
Then conventional excavation of the hearth was undertaken and all the spoil was passed first through the sieve and then through a soil flotation unit kindly lent by the Extra-mural Department of London University. A large sample of charcoal was obtained and a quantity of small carbonised globules discovered (average diameter 1-2 mm.) which are the object at the moment of considerable curiosity, speculation and research.
A second successful training dig was held last, June and over the season 101 HADAS members took part in the dig. Local interest appeared undiminished, both in the press and from passers by. A number of school parties visited the site and the BBC Schools Department recorded a programme at West Heath with the Director, Desmond Collins. An exhibition of West Heath material was mounted at Swiss Cottage Library during May, and talks on the dig, have been given to other local societies, including the London Natural History Society.
It is hoped that an interim report on the first three years of the West Heath excavation will be published towards the end of 1979. Meantime a considerable amount of help is needed in treating and counting the finds. Processing sessions take place every Wednesday at Avenue House, East End Road, F1nchley, from lO am-5 pm (please ring Daphne Lorimer if you would like to come to these)” There will also be processing weekends on Feb 3/4 and March 10/11, at the Teahouse, Northway, NWll, from 10 am-5 pm each day. All members will be welcome at these and, as help is urgently needed on various projects for the report, we hope to see as many people as possible at the first one on Feb. 3.
Another important date for your diary is Sat. March 3, 19791 l0 am- 12 noon, Henry Burden Hall, Egerton Gardens, NW4: the HADAS Minimart. Have you done your spring cleaning yet? Even if you haven’t, please remember the Minimart, our main fund-raising effort of the year. All objects in good condition will be welcome, and contributions can be-brought to the February lecture or the February Teahouse processing weekend. Collection can be arranged if required – please ring Christine Arnott or Dorothy Newbury.
We propose to have a notice board at the Minimart on which people can display details of large goods which they have for sale or second-hand goods which they would like to buy (we already know, for instance, of a hopeful grandmother who is in the market for pushing, riding and rocking toys). If you have anything you want to advertise in that way, either as a buyer or a seller: please let Christine Arnott know.
THE FEBRUARY LECTURE
…will be on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Central Library, The Burroughs, NW4. Coffee 8 pm, lecture 8.3O.
Several members will know our lecturer, Dr. Barbara Bender, PhD, through having taken part in her archaeological trips to Brittany. Though she trained in archaeology, Dr. Bender is at present a lecturer in the Anthropology Department of University College, London. Her PhD thesis was on the Neolithic in Normandy; she has written a book on Farming in Prehistory.
The lecture programme for the rest of the season is:
Tues. Mar. 6 Archaeology of the second Industrial Revolution – Kenneth Hudson MA
Tues. Apr. 3 The Etruscan& Geoffrey Toms M.
TRIP TO NORTH WALES, Sept. 19-23, 1979
We apologise for omitting from the January Newsletter the promised application form and further details of this trip. Christmas caught up with some of us. An application form is now enclose. Please complete it if you to join the trip and send it as soon as possible to Dorothy Newbury.
TONY ROOK’S DRAINS
A report by HELEN GORDON on the first lecture of 1979.
Arctic weather on January 2 made a mockery of any need to exclude non~members from this HADAS lecture. Nonetheless, A good audience braved the snow to hear Tony Rook’s amusing account of the architectural development of Roman baths, which here must be not only abbreviated, but bowdlerised.
Early Roman baths were heated by braziers, the building being kept small, with little window, to conserve the heat. The introduction of under floor heating of the hypocaust led to the problem of chimneys. Early hypocausts vented into the room, like pottery ovens, but by the last c. BC narrow chimneys were set into the walls (as at Herculaneum). Later, special tiles, ‘tegulae mammatae’ were introduced; these had spacers on the back such that when nailed to the wall smoke could pass between tile and wall. Pompeii baths (79 AD!) show this cavity connected with the hypocaust and it must have acted as a flue.
However, while nails could readily be driven into walls of tufa, hard stone masonry presented a problem which was solved by the introduction of tubuli, or box tiles – a great improvement in heat efficiency besides being easier to fix. The resultant large radiating surface permitted such all increase in size of building that the central room of the public baths became an immense sunbathing lounge with vast unglazed windows facing south west to catch the afternoon sun.
The invention of concrete at this time enabled the architecture of these Vast new baths to develop in a revolutionary way, exploiting the potential of vaulting.
Tony Rook’s particular concern is the little bath at Lockleys, on which he spent 12 years excavating with the Welwyn Archaeological Society only to have it overrun by the Al motorway. But as a result of his campaign for its preservation, it is now enclosed in a steel vault under the motorway (open to the public on Sunday afternoons).
Here are details of a mixed bag of courses and conferences which will take place later this spring:
On Sat. March 31, 11 am-5.30 pm, at the Museum of London, the 16th Annual Conference of London Archaeologists. The morning will be on excavations in the whole London area, with the afternoon devoting itself particularly to aspects of the Medieval City of London. Tickets (LAMAS members £1, non-members £2) may be obtained from Alison Bristow, LAMAS, c/o Everett & Son, 13 Christopher St, EC2. You are advised to apply early as this event often se1ls out.
On Thursdays, starting April 19, a course of 10 meetings under the title of Bible Lands and the Origins of Civilisation, at Burnt Oak Library, Orange Hill Road, from 10 am-12 noon. How well does the evidence of archaeology fit the Bible narrative? The course hopes to provide the answer. The lecturer is Roberta Harris and the course costs £3.70.
At the Museum of London, Apr. 20-22, a weekend conference on Waterfront Archaeology in North European Towns, sponsored by CBA, Museum of London and Nautical Archaeology Trust. This will be an international conference with many European speakers; the London and Kings Lynn waterfronts both feature on the programme. In addition to dealing with specific ports and waterfronts (like the Viking port on the River Liffey in Dublin) there will be more general papers on subjects like boats and barges and the place of dendrochronology in waterfront studies. For further details, send an sae to Mrs. J Coleman, CBA, 112 Kennington Rd, SE1l 6RE.
AIDS TO RESEARCH
With this article Borough Archivist and HADAS member JOANNA CORDEN completes her survey of the archive sources available to local historians of the London Borough of Barnet.
IV – External Sources, 4: Hertfordshire County Record Office, Pt. B
Maps are an important source of historical and archaeological information, whatever may have been the purpose for which they were originally created.
The most commonly known series is that of the Ordnance Survey: the Herts Record Office has extensive holdings of these from first editions of 1 in. and 6 in. maps onwards, including most of the large scale plans. They also have photocopies of the original surveyors’ sketches, at a scale of 2 in. to the mile, in preparation for the first edition 1 in. maps. These are a very valuable source of information for the development from the mid-19th c. to the present day, of the various areas previously in Hertfordshire and now in LBB, both because of their accuracy, and consistency and because of their frequent revisions.
These arc the next important type of map. An original and two copies were prepared of each tithe commutation award and map for each parish under the provisions of the Tithe Act of 1836 (6 & 7 Wm IV c.71). The original was deposited with the Tithe Commissioners, and these originals are now all held by the PRO; one copy went to the Diocesan Registrar and one to the incumbent and churchwardens of the parish. It is one or both
of the copies which are held by a Record Office; where neither copy is found, it usually indicates that the parish copy has not been deposited and the diocesan copy is missing – not that no award, and therefore no map, was ever made.
Herts Record Office holds the Tithe map for Totteridge only; the map itself is not dated, though the award is dated 1840. A map and award were certainly made for Chipping and East Barnet, since copies of the original (now with the PRO) are held in the Local History Library, LBB.
Information provided by tithe maps consists of the name of the owner, occupier, parcel number as shown on the map, name and description of the property, the state of cultivation, the acreage of the parcel and the amount of tithe rent charge apportioned to each parcel.
These are the next important surviving series of maps created under local or private acts. Again three copies were made; one enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace, one deposited with the parish records in the custody of the incumbent and churchwardens, and one with the principal land owner or lord of the manor.
There is only one enclosure award and map for the Herts section of the borough, that of Chipping and East Barnet, which formed part of the Records of the Clerk of the Peace. There are 5 maps bound with the award, on parchment; they show houses, with larger properties named.
It is useful to remember that an enclosure award sets out a new pattern of land holding and details new arrangements. It is the a situation which the map illustrates, not the pattern as it existed prior to the enclosure of open or common fields and land.
Earlier Estate and Other Maps
There are also earlier estate maps which can be useful; one exists for East Barnet in the late 18th c, giving names of fields and of adjoining landowners, and showing the churchyard. There is also one for Totteridge for approximately the same period, though here no title, surveyor or date are listed. It shows the layouts of houses and gardens, and – an interesting feature – a canal. There are several estate maps for North Mimms, 3 of them relating to Gubbins (or Gobions) 1815-41, and one of 1810 for Laurel Cottage at Dancers Hill, South, Mimms.
Maps showing properties in detail are also attached to sale catalogues and deeds, but these are not usually listed separately.
There is a miscellaneous collection of plans at the Record Office; these include such items as a plan of property in High Street, Chipping Barnet, 1783; a plan of Barnet Cattle Market and auction offices, New Road, 1902; Chipping Barnet National School plans, 1846-71; New Barnet Lyonsdown Trinity C. of E. School plans, 1869; printed plan of freehold building estate; showing plots fronting Salisbury, Strafford, Alston and Stapylton Roads, 1881; and a mansion and land of the National Freehold Land Society, 1852.
Other than maps and Quarter Session Records (dealt with last month), there are of course a large selection of other records depositad at Herts Record Office.
The manorial rolls of Chipping and East Barnet are in the custody of the Barnet Local History Society at Barnet Museum, but other manorial papers are at Hertford e.g. the stewards records 1887-1937; and the Chandos Charity papers regarding tolls and the mineral well on the common, 1734-1808.
There are various business records; the Manor Road estate, for instance, including plans and sale particulars for 1867-1903; papers concerning the trust property in Wood Street ca11cd ‘The Whalebones,’ 1828-1902; , papers and correspondence concerning a “Barnet Brewery” in Wood Street, 1868-91; and draft leases, correspondence and other papers of Barnet College in Wood Street, 1890-1901.
The Pubs of Barnet
Licensing records are to be found with the Quarter Sessions papers, but there is also a considerable amount of material relating to the various inns in Barnet; Particularly in the form of deeds, ranging from one for the Mermaid Inn for 1601 to the Crown and Anchor (formerly the Boars Head) for 1785-1897. Among the inns included are the Antelope (now the Red Lion) 1690-1720; the Railway Tavern, 1857-74; the Rose and Crown and Mitre, 1667; the Rising Sun (formerly the Roebuck) 1667; the Edinburgh Castle; Mitre, Three Elms and Cat Inn 1790-1885; and the Black Prince Beerhouse, East Barnet, the Park Road Beerhouse; the Old Red Lion, the Rising Sun, Barnet Common and the Railway Tavern, Hadley Common, 1805-60.
There were many charities in Barnet whose records have survived. They include the Chandos Charity (mentioned above) papers 1734-1868, with the account book for maintenance of Barnet Poor, 1795-1843., correspondence concerning appointment of trustees, 1882-99, and a copy of Chandos Enclosure Act, 1729; Elizabeth Al1ens trust scheme for regulating the school, 1873-1930; Garretts Almshouse charity correspondence, memoranda, papers concerning administration, trustees and history of the charity, 1890-1949;. Palmers Almshouses Charity correspondence and accounts , 1883-93; Valentine Poo1es charity -correspondence and papers 1893-1935; Barnet Poor Allotment Charity correspondence, 1889-1925; and statement of accounts for all Barnet charities printed together 1931.
There are also a great many papers and, in some cases, plans relating to various Barnet schools, such as Queen Elizabeths Grammar school, Chipping Barnet, East Barnet National Schools and New Barnet Lyonsdown Trinity C. of E. School; also papers of families and estates; such as the Brand family, 1795; Littlegrove, 1697-1821; Bohun Lodge; 1827-1916; and Barnet Brewery, Wood St, 1729-1892; and personal records, such as the diary of Augustus Henry Bosanquet of Osidge, East Barnet, 1857-76. This is only a small samp1e of the material held at the Herts Record Office; it is worth remembering that additional material is constantly deposited, and it is always worth checking to see if anything is available on a particular subject or query.
HISTORY IN CRICKLEWOOD
Do any HADAS member’s recall Cricklewood in earlier days, or has anyone inherited photos, press cuttings, posters or maps which might throw light on the district? If anyone has, they may be interested in helping with an enquiry which came to the Society recently. It was from a firm with offices in Cricklewood which is preparing a short history of the area. They are particularly interested in the former Westcroft Farm area of Cricklewood Lane, but would be glad of information about the whole district. They intend to produce a small publication. Members interested in this enquiry can get further details from Brigid Grafton Green.
THE POSTMAN’S TALE
The September Newsletter carried a transcript of a tape-recording called The Carpenter’s Ta1e. HADAS member PERCY REBOUL has now provided another transcript in the same series. From the outset the postman himself is speaking.
I was born at Finchley in 1903 and went to various local schools, including St. Mary’s at Finchley. I joined the Post Office in November, 1930, and left in 1968 with 38 years service including war service. In those days most recruitment was through ex-servicemen and many postmen had served in the 1914-18 war. I applied for a job while I was in the Army and was put on a register. Two and a half years later a vacancy occurred. Coming from the services, the 2nd Class Certificate of Education was sufficient, and I was posted to High Street, Barnet.
I remember my first day well. I was in civilian clothes and had to be at Barnet at 6 am, where I was given an arm band. It was pouring with rain and I was given a large PO sack to drape round my shoulders. Looking a bit of a freak, I was assigned to a senior postman called George Abbott, who told me what to do. He was friendly, but discipline was very strict in those days.
I hadn’t a clue about the job. I had to learn about sorting. Some mail came by motor and some by rail from Barnet. The mail was brought into the Postmens’ Office, tipped out onto a table and the letters spread around. It was all for the Barnet area and had to be sorted into ‘walks’ – we don’t call it a round. You had to learn which roads were in each walk, and the mail was sorted into streets and numbers in the proper order.
A11 deliveries were on foot but Barnet had two sorts of postmen – the town men and the rural men who delivered in areas like South Mimms. The latter had heavy bicycles which I believe are still used today. There were 3 deliveries. One set out at 7 am, another at 11 am and the third at 3 pm. Barnet Post Office was in Outer London, adjacent was Whetstone, in the inner London area, where they did 4 deliveries a day. Conditions were quite different in the two areas.
Bright as a Button
We were inspected every morning before work. Buttons had to be bright and shoes properly cleaned. A black tie and white shirt had to be worn. This was part of the discipline and there was no resentment.
My uniform came after one month: navy blue coarse serge trousers, waistcoat and jacket, and an odd shaped hat called a ‘shako’ with a peak front and rear. The peak at the back was to stop water running down your neck. You bought your own shoes and wore your own shirt and tie. An interesting accessory was an oil-lamp which fitted into your buttonhole. It was convenient in winter because you could warm your hands on it – you can’t wear gloves when you’re delivering mail.
The pay was £2. 7s. a week. This was quite good money for those-days and conditions were good, as it was an established civil service job. However, after 6 months the economic crisis came and everyone took a cut in wages – mine went down to £2. 3s. 6d. We protested, marched down Whitehall and got mixed up with militant communists. You must remember that we were civil servants under the Treasury and were not supposed to protest against the state or to strike. All we could do was feebly demonstrate and write to our MP – but nothing could be done.
We worked a 48-hour week, split duty, from 6 am – ll am and- 3 – 6 pm. There was a fortnight’s holiday, regulated by seniority. You were told when you could take your holiday. My first leave was the first two weeks in March. It snowed all the time. Other benefits were a non-contributory pension scheme and generous sick leave. Incremental increases had to be qualified for. I lost my first increment because I was late 16 times during the year (a total time in 12 months of 1 3/4 hours) when the maximum allowed was 15 times: – I lost 3s 6d a week for 3 months -and that was a lot of money. Again, it was part, of the discipline.
Move to Whetstone
After 4 1/2 years I was fortunate to get a transfer to Whetstone – the Sorting Office at Oakleigh Road. Being Inner London, we got an extra 7s a week and I worked ‘on the motors’, which was another 7s. a week. You were engaged, among other things, on Primary Sorting, which means, briefly, sorting the mail collected from the Barnet area into towns and regions, all over the country. I went to a special training school in Islington for one month to learn this job.
I used to pick up the Barnet mails from Market Place, East Finchley at 5.30 am in the motor and drop them of at North Finchley and Whetstone so my work embraced driving, vehicle maintenance, delivery, sorting, franking and collection from the post boxes. All local letters had to be delivered by 8 am and if they were not, people would ring up to check where their letter was. At this time – around 1935 – Lord Hewitt (who was, I believe, Lord Chief Justice) lived in Totteridge. We had to guarantee that he got his mail by 7.30 am and a special van delivery was made to his house opposite Totteridge Church.
If you made a mistake in sorting – for example, put a Birmingham letter into a Brighton sorting box or if a postman delivered a letter for No. 23 to No. 25 and someone complained, you were officially handed a PIB form. This required you at once to furnish an explanation. Often there was no answer except that you had made a mistake – and for that there was no excuse. The form was sent to Head Office and you were reprimanded. It was even possible to have your increment stopped for up to 12 months.
Trade Union Affairs – As They Once Were
As civil servants we were limited in trade union matters. The Annual Conference was held all over the country; if you attended, you had to pay your own upkeep – the Union paid only the rail fare. On one occasion the Barnet representative and I pooled our financial resources: by sharing a room and even a bed we kept expenses down and both managed to attend the conference in the Isle of Man. On the lighter side, I well remember a resolution at Conference on the quality of the dye used in postmen’s uniforms. It used to come through if you got wet. Moving the resolution, one member recounted his fear of meeting with an accident and how ashamed he would be to be found with blue streaks on his underwear. An outstanding memory is of Walter Citrine addressing the Conference. He was so serene and confident in his running of Trade Union affairs.
Just before the last war the area was growing considerably, specially on the south side of Totteridge Lane and Totteridge Green. This meant that men had more work and could not do it in the time allowed. In such cases, the Union Secretary applied for a ‘test.’ An inspector would come and walk round with the postman to see how long it took.
Perhaps I shouldn’t tell this story – but I will. We would be tipped off that someone was coming to do a test, and we had a system of buying a lot of postcards and addressing them to all the outlandish places to make sure that the postman went there during the test. We would write anything on the card – Buy Typhoo Tea, or something like that – so that the bloke being tested did the maximum journey.
(Editor’s note: I would be fascinated to hear from anyone who may still have such a card. A real collector’s item, as yet not mentioned in the catalogues!)